Month: October 2012

The Palestinianization of European political discourse

News that the European Union’s foreign policy representative, Catherine Ashton, joined an Arab olive harvest in the town of Ras Karkar, should be a cause for concern for all those who are worried about the EU’s inability to stay impartial in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The fact that Ras Karkar is in Area C, which is under Israeli military and administrative control, is something of a propaganda coup for the Palestinians, who claim Ms Ashton’s visit is proof that that “this territory is not contested as Israel claims” and will “help us move to full Palestinian sovereignty.”

Ms Ashton’s visit to the Middle East comes a week after she described Israeli construction activity in a Jerusalem neighborhood as threatening “to make a two-state solution impossible.” Moreover, she made no mention of the Palestinian refusal to resume direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions.

One of the most alarming experiences as a European is to see how our politicians continue to criticize Israel but not the Palestinians, whose national aspirations seem to be the most pressing issue in the corridors of EU power. In fact, you would be forgiven for thinking that the creation of a Palestinian state will inaugurate a period of world peace and utopian brotherhood.

It is ironic that the EU is so fixated on Palestinian nationalism at a time when Europe is undermining the sovereignty of individual nation states within its own borders. Indeed, Europe haughtily dismisses concepts such as a statehood and nationalism. So why is Palestinian statehood so important?

This obsession with the Palestinians requires an explanation. Ever since Israel’s astounding military victory in 1967, it is clear that the Jewish state does not require the benefaction of condescending Europeans. This means that Europe needs a “new Jew” to patronize  But instead of protecting its own Jewish remnant who had survived the horrors of the Shoah, the European elite latched on to the concept of Palestinian nationalism.

Why? Because Palestinian nationalism was – and still is – packaged as a revolutionary (albeit invented) ethnocentric liberation movement which challenges the hegemony of the US, which has long supported Israel. Moreover, the Palestinians managed to convince just about everyone that they are a landless and suffering people, whose plight is equal to that of the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s.

During the 1960s and 1970s, when the Palestinians used terrorism to advertise their message, some European politicians and activists must have thought that assisting the Palestinians was simply the right thing to do. Anyway, supporting the PLO at a time when it was widely considered to be a terrorist organization, was a good way of upsetting the Americans. At the same time, the Palestinian issue has enabled Europe to reconnect with its Jew-hating past by blurring the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

II

The fact that for the first time since the Nazis ruled Europe, Jews are being boycotted and sanctioned on a massive scale, is testament to the perverse success of the Palestinianization of Europe.

A growing number of European universities, trade unions and businesses have decided to boycott Israeli products and individual Israelis (usually academics), as well as Israeli orchestras and theatre groups. At state level, Denmark and Ireland are proposing the banning of Israeli goods. The European Parliament’s second biggest voting bloc, the Socialists and Democrats Group, also supports a boycott of Israeli settlement goods.

At street level, Jews are assaulted and their sacred spaces vandalized. Countries that pride themselves on their enlightened and liberal societies, such as Sweden, France, Britain and Norway, are all places where to be Jewish is to be at risk.

The rise in anti-Semitism in Europe has received little attention, partly because much of the abuse is carried out by Muslims who are sheltered by the liberal elite, who accuse critics of Islamophobia or racism. Muslims who attack diaspora Jews claim it is retribution on behalf of their “brothers” in Gaza and the “West Bank.” And the liberal elite agrees.

In the European media, Israel is disproportionately blamed for all the ills of the Middle East. It is amazing how many column inches are devoted to Israel/Palestine. Far too often, the Guardian newspaper gives a platform to radical Muslims who espouse hatred of Israel and Jews. And on so many occasions, media outlets across Europe print or broadcast anti-Israel stories that are based on manipulated images, staged events and unsubstantiated rumors, the most notable example being the massacre that never happened in Jenin.

What is also vexing is Europe’s economic support for projects in Gaza and the “West Bank.” Over the past two decades, the EU has committed around 5 billion euros in development aid to the Palestinians. The EU makes no secret of  the fact that it is deliberately helping the Palestinians prepare for statehood, which the EU says is being hampered by Israeli settlements. At the start of 2012, the EU contributed another 1.1 million euros to the PA’s so-called “Private Sector Reconstruction in Gaza” program, which provides financial support to businesses destroyed or damaged by “Operation Cast Lead”. Never mind the fact that Gaza has a has a five-star hotel and a luxury shopping mall, or that its real GDP grow by more than 25% in the first three quarters of 2011.

III

In contemporary European political discourse, the Palestinian issue is totemic. The European fixation with Gaza and the “West Bank” has propagated the outrageous but popular belief that Israel is the world’s worst human rights abuser since the Nazis. But casting Israel in this role is no different from accusing Jews of killing Christian children for their blood or blaming Jews for Germany’s military defeat in 1918. The level of abuse leveled at Israel today is just another manifestation of an age-old disease. And it is a disease which always makes Europe very sick.

Ms Ashton, who is also vice-president of the European Commission, would do well to turn her attention to finding a solution to domestic anti-Semitism, which is at its highest level in sixty years. Europe has no business funding Gaza or castigating Israel when it cannot even look after its own persecuted minority of Jews, some of whom are fleeing France and Sweden in order to find shelter in Israel. The fact that the Holocaust is still within living memory should send a shudder down the spine of Europe.

The one-sided criticism of Israel and the culture of hatred in Europe needs to be addressed before more Jews are attacked or synagogues firebombed by pro-Palestinian activists. For the sake of a healthy body politic, EU politicians must resist the urge to automatically side with the Palestinians and say “no” to anti-Semitism in all its forms. They should point out the duplicity of left-wing peace demonstrators who side with Hamas and Hezbollah, and highlight the hypocrisy of European anti-Zionists who send flotillas to Gaza but do nothing about Syria, which is currently falling apart.

This is not about being anti-Muslim (or even anti-Left) but about getting things into proportion and realizing that there are more important issues in the world than “Palestine.” Eradicating European anti-Semitism is, in my view, far more important. After all, Europe has a moral and historic duty to protect what remains of its Jewish communities.

Walking with Noah

The recent Torah portion, Noach, (Genesis 6:9-11:32), is an important reminder that any individual, Jew or gentile, has a place in this world and in the world to come.

The story of Noah is particularly important to those gentiles who refer to themselves as B’nai Noach (literally, children of Noah) and follow the Seven Noahide Laws, a set of principles that are a divine blueprint for ethical living.

For thousands of years, there has been a belief that all men and women are bound by a universal code of morality. Following the Deluge, HaShem renews His relationship with creation in its entirety and promises to never again to “cut off” all flesh with the waters of a flood. In return, mankind must behave wisely and justly, and walk with HaShem.

According to Maimonides, six laws were commanded to Adam in the Garden of Eden. These were prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, sexual immorality  and theft, as well as the commandment to establish laws and courts of justice. To Noah, God reiterated the law against murder and added the prohibition against eating flesh from a living animal, sometimes interpreted as behaving compassionately towards animals.

This universal and ancient code was arguably the faith of Noah, Shem, Abram, Job and possibly even Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. These great men had strong ethical beliefs, and enjoyed a fruitful relationship with HaShem. Noah’s son Shem, for example, is believed to have been Melchizedek, the King of Salem or Jerusalem. Melchizedek means “my king is righteousness” or “righteousness is my king.” As a priest, Melchizedek brought out bread and wine and blessed both Abram and G-d.

The Seven Laws of Noah were reiterated at Mount Sinai and form part of the 613 commandments given to the people of Israel. The reason for this is simple: the Jewish people were to safeguard these universal principles and to teach them to the nations. In other words, the Jews are a nation of priests tasked with bringing non-Jews into a relationship with HaShem. Jews themselves, of course, have their own particular covenant with HaShem as expressed in the Torah.

Judaism is not a religion which seeks converts. The rabbis clearly teach that non-Jews have the option of following the Seven Laws of Noah. Although conversion is not prohibited (far from it), it makes no difference in terms of that person’s “salvation.” Jew and gentile alike are loved by G-d and judged by their deeds, not by their religious affiliation.

When a gentile resolves to observe the Seven Laws, his or her soul is elevated. According to the rabbis, a non-Jews who commits himself to the Noahide Way becomes one of the “pious ones of the nations” and receives a share of the world to come, as well as blessings in this world.

The Noahide faith has nothing to do with creating another religion, which is forbidden in the Torah, but is about acknowledging  HaShem as the One G-d of both Jews and non-Jews, and recognizing that He is a righteous and loving G-d, Who is intimately concerned with His creation.

Noahidism is rapidly gaining in popularity in the West, especially among former Christians who wish to have a relationship with HaShem without the baggage of Christian dogma and two thousand years of Church-sanctioned anti-Semitism. In fact, not since the days of the Second Temple when G-d-fearing gentiles regularly attended synagogues throughout the diaspora, has the Torah played such an important part in the lives of non-Jews.

There are many Noahide groups and communities in the UK, Australia, parts of Europe, and throughout the US. In the early 1990s President George Bush Senior signed into law an historic Joint Resolution of both Houses of Congress recognizing the Seven Noachide Laws as the “bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization.”

Chabad Lubavitch has done the most in recent years to reach out to non-Jews. In 2006, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel met with a representative of Chabad to sign a declaration calling on all non-Jews in Israel to observe the Noahide Laws. A year later, Chabad brought together ambassadors from Poland, Japan, Ghana, Latvia, Mexico and Panama, who all championed the Noahide Laws.

In Manchester, England, where I live, Chabad has been prominent. Hasidic Jews are often seen handing out leaflets to passers-by. There is now a small Noahide study group, which gathers every week to discuss the Torah and Halachic matters. I am glad to say I am one of the participants in this group.

The majority of Noahides are very supportive of the State of Israel and are on the frontline in the fight against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in their own countries. Most Noahides have their own blessings and prayers (written by orthodox rabbis) and have turned away from pagan holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Some Noahides attend synagogues and most, if not all, study under trained rabbis. In 2005, the scholar Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem started work on an in-depth codification of the Noahide precepts. Published three years later, Sefer Sheva Mitzvot HaShem (“The Book of Seven Divine Commandments”) has been approved by the chief rabbis of Israel, as well as other halachic authorities.

As a Noahide I am proud to be part of a growing movement which seeks to restore the faith of Noah and Shem. I am also gratified to be considered a friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. But mostly I am glad to have heeded Jeremiah 6:16, which speak of a journey of righteousness and a life of fidelity towards HaShem: “This is what the Lord says:

‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls’.”

The Noahide Way truly is the ancient path.

EU: Don’t Let People’s Health Be a Palestinian Issue

Update_23 Oct 2012_The Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) passed Tuesday in a vote of 379-230.]

 

This week European policymakers must choose between affordable and high quality medicines from Israel or the crude ideology of Palestinianism.

For the past two years Europeans have lost out on reasonably-priced drugs because of lobbying by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which calls for the boycott of Israeli goods.

The pro-Palestinian group has spent two years delaying the signing of the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance (ACAA), regardless of the fact that ordinary people in Europe are being denied access to life-saving drugs.

Israel is in a position to export large quantities of medicine thanks to generic pharmaceutical firm Teva, which manufactures Copaxone, the world’s best-selling treatment for multiple sclerosis. Teva has also produced a generic version of Lipitor for blood pressure and Actos, which helps people with type 2 diabetes.

Under the terms of the agreement, not only will European pharmaceuticals save a fortune by not having to produce the drugs in the first place, they will also benefit from not having to pay for drug trials. At a time when Europe’s economy is in pieces, the opportunity to import affordable medicines should not be missed.

The Brussels-based European Friends of Israel has said the vote is “a major step in improving the life of European consumers by reducing the costs of medicine and increasing the quality and quantity of medical products.”

In contrast, Israelophobes are pushing hard for a “no” vote, citing alleged human rights abuses in the so-called West Bank. The Socialists and Democrats group of the EU, which form the  second-largest bloc in the parliament, have declared that goods hailing from Judea and Samaria “do not comply with EU law.”

It is a shame that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and their lackeys in the European Parliament are  trying to smash progress and block free trade in favor of a regressive boycott reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

After all, Israel has been at the forefront of medical technology for many years. It was the Weizmann Institute of Science which made the breakthrough that led to the creation of Copaxone. This is the same institute which developed Rebif (also for multiple sclerosis), as well as a new vaccination for hepatitis B and a new treatment for type 1 diabetes.

On the plus side, the fact that the EU is upgrading trade and diplomatic relations with Israel is a defeat for those who believe relations should be frozen until Israel pulls out of Judea and Samaria. Already the EU is Israel’s largest source of imports and its second biggest export market, after the USA.

Meanwhile, the UK government has quietly acknowledged its desire to build trade relations with Israel. At a time when the British economy is in the doldrums, there is talk of encouraging a stronger partnership between UK and Israeli companies in the areas of innovation, hi-tech and science.

So let’s hope European policymakers put aside their anti-Israel prejudices and make a progressive move towards better healthcare for a rapidly aging European populace, which desperately needs cost-effective medical treatment.

A “no” vote would be bad news for Europe’s citizens, who do not deserve to be treated as pawns in the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign’s malicious war against the Jewish state. A “yes” vote, on the other hand, would show the world that the EU is capable of acting in the best interests of its electorate.

Lamech’s revelation

Lord, I have seen the inner workings of man and I am afraid. Poor and

pathetic: he is corrupted from the start, living in a blasted world.

But my eyes have seen the ark of salvation, which you have prepared in

secret: my own son Noah, the justification of all that is to come.

He knows the secrets of all living things.

He was born in the night but came out perfect.

He is my Adam on whom God will pour out His righteousness. The same

God who will one day wipe away men, women, children. A bunch of

animals.

But my son will be saved and will save. For he is a friend of God, a

child of the angels.

And he shall be a comfort to his family in this season of penance and

be set high upon a rock.

And God will be feared because the world will have felt His anger.

And there shall be a covenant of peace between my son and his true

father; and never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a

flood.

For as long as there is day and night.

And my exalted son, Noah, will be the father of mankind and his name

will be remembered in every generation.

The Spirit of his breath will endure forever

This is my dream.

Copyright 2010/2012 Richard C Mather

Iran sanctions: the clock is ticking

The European Union has agreed a fresh round of sanctions against Iran, including asset freezes and trade restrictions on oil and gas companies. But is there any evidence that such embargos are thwarting Tehran’s nuclear ambitions?

Although the EU should be praised for taking tough action, there is no indication that Tehran has changed course. The regime still insists that its nuclear project is for peaceful purposes. Moreover, it is refusing to reduce its uranium enrichment activity unless sanctions are lifted.

It is true that Iran’s economy is in freefall. Its currency, the rial, is at an all-time low. Oil exports have fallen to 860,000 barrels per day, compared with 2.2 million bpd at the close of 2011. And in the words of UK prime minister David Cameron, “there are signs that the Iranian people are beginning to question the regime’s strategy with even pro-regime groups protesting at the actions of the government.”

But Iran’s leaders are not easily cowed by international or internal pressure. Despite being a pariah nation since 1979, it is now the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East. It survived a wave of strikes and protests in 2003 and 2009 respectively, and will probably survive the current economic crisis by clamping down on demonstrators and opponents. In the meantime, millions of ordinary Iranians will suffer the consequences of rising prices and economic collapse.

There is also a risk that Israel and the West will be blamed for inflicting punishment on innocent people who have no connection with the regime in Tehran. Indeed, Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader are likely to exploit the sufferings of ordinary people for propaganda purposes. In the meantime, Iranians are forced to live in poverty as their leaders consolidate their hold on the institutions of power. Let’s not forget that Saddam Hussein continued to rule Iraq despite years of sanctions.

Plus, there are reports that Tehran is preparing to force an end to sanctions by wreaking environmental havoc. According to Der Spiegel, Iran is threatening to cause a massive oil spill in the Strait of Hormuz, thereby creating an ecological disaster and blocking a vital shipping route. If this happens the West will have no option but to lift the embargo and cooperate with the Iranian authorities in order to facilitate a clean-up.

But in truth, all Iran has to do is bide its time. A new report by the Institute for Science and International Security reveals that Iran will be able to produce weapons-grade fuel in two to four months, with additional time needed to integrate the uranium into a nuclear warhead. In the meantime Iran’s nuclear facilities are being buried in deep underground bunkers. The longer the international community hesitates, the less chance it has of destroying these facilities.

Sanctions may be decimating Iran’s economy and they may be causing internal strife, but there is no evidence yet that Iran is prepared to relinquish its nuclear dream. In the meantime, the clock is ticking.

So, should Israel continue to hold its nerve and see if sanctions work? Netanyahu is painfully aware that Iran is busy burying its nuclear project in hard-to-reach bunkers. He also knows that it is only a matter of months before Iran is capable to dropping a bomb on Tel Aviv. Israel has to act very soon, regardless of sanctions.

Moreover, there is the argument that the Iranian people themselves would be better off if Israel took military action. Iran’s civilians would probably be largely unaffected by targeted strikes on the country’s nuclear facilities. In contrast, sanctions are affecting the lives and morale of ordinary Iranians and will eventually lead to the collapse of the middle class, thereby robbing Iran of its best chance to peacefully topple the regime from within.

Military action, then, seems the best course of action. It is quick, decisive and relatively painless. It would also alleviate Israel’s security fears, which have reached fever pitch in the past few months. Of course, there will be retaliation from Hezbollah and possibly Hamas. But Israel is vastly superior to either of these organizations and is used to dealing with their murderous tactics. Dealing with a nuclear Iran is quite another thing.

Time to recapture the Temple Mount

Recent reports of Arabs throwing stones on Temple Mount and the ongoing harassment of Jewish worshippers during Sukkot tells me that liberating Judaism’s holiest site from Muslim occupation is long overdue.

The government’s appeasement of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, which controls the Temple Mount, is an affront to the Jewish people. After all, the Temple Mount is where HaShem chose to rest the Divine Presence.

It is a disgrace that Jews are abused and pelted with stones. It is a scandal that Jews are subject to expulsion by the police if they are caught openly praying on the Temple Mount.

Earlier this year, a young British Jewish student was accosted by Waqf officials, who demanded that he remove his yarmulke, which they said they found to be “offensive.” The student later told reporters that while he has experienced anti-Semitism in England, he “never thought that in Judaism’s holiest site I would be subjugated to such discrimination.”

Meanwhile, the Waqf allows illegal digging to take place. In the process, valuable artifacts and important historical remnants from the two Jewish temples are being thrown away. It is clear that this is an attempt to disconnect the people of Israel from their inheritance.

UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, has done nothing to prevent such blatant cultural and historical vandalism. Not only is this shameful, it is a violation of its promise to “create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.”

It is patently clear that non-Jews cannot be trusted to protect Jewish sites. Following Jordan’s occupation of Judea and Samaria, the Arabs went to great efforts to erase Jewish history. The graveyard on the Mount of Olives was desecrated and all but one of the thirty five synagogues in the Old City were destroyed.

It is obvious that Islamic control of the Temple Mount is motivated by politics, not religion. During the Jordanian occupation, no foreign Arab leader came to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque. The fact that Muslims continue to pray with their backsides toward the Temple Mount is an affront to HaShem and the Jewish people.

While it is still forbidden for Jews to set foot upon the actual location of the Holy Temple, the rabbinic prohibition against visiting the Tempe Mount is giving way to a heartfelt desire to reincorporate the site into Jewish religious life. It is significant that a number of rabbis have visited the complex, as well as schoolchildren.

Therefore, it is time for Israel to once again make history and recapture the Temple Mount. Whether this can be achieved without causing another intifada remains to be seen. But the symbolic importance of taking control should not be underestimated. It would send a clear message to the Palestinians (and to the world) that Jerusalem is a Jewish city and will never be divided.

The Rights of Settlers _update

PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has said that a Palestinian bid for non-member status at the United Nations is the only way to stop the expansion of Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria. But anyone with a basic grasp of international law can see that Israel is perfectly entitled to build settlements on the “West Bank.”

In 1920, the San Remo Conference instructed Britain to establish a Jewish national home on territory covering what would become Israel, Jordan and part of the Golan Heights. In early 1921, Britain made a distinction between “Palestine” as a national home for the Jewish people, and Transjordan as a home for the Arabs. Already, the Jews had to accept a territorial compromise in order to appease Arab interests.

The 1922 Mandate of Palestine formalized the creation of a Jewish homeland, as well as Transjordan for the Arabs. The entire League of Nations unanimously declared that “recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” The Mandate not only legalized the immigration of Jews to Palestine, it encouraged close settlement of the land. Moreover, the notion of internationalizing or dividing Jerusalem was never part of the Mandate.

Two years after the Second World War, the British handed the Mandate to the UN, which recommended (rather than enforced) the partition of Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The Jews accepted the partition but the Arab states rejected it and declared war on the Jewish homeland, which resulted in the Jordanian annexation of the “West Bank.” At the insistence of the Arabs, the 1949 armistice line was “not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary.”

In 1967, Israel won control of the West Bank after a war of self-defence. To speak of Israeli occupation implies that Israel fought an aggressive war in order capture the West Bank, which was not the case.

UN Security Council Resolution 242 recommended Israeli withdrawal from territories in return for the right “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” At a conference in Khartoum the Arabs refused to negotiate or make peace with Israel. In fact, they refused to recognise Israel at all. (Resolution 242 did not mention the Palestinians, although it did refer to “a just settlement of the refugee problem” in acknowledgment that both sides had their share of refugees.)

It is also worth pointing out that the Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to Judea and Samaria because it pertains only to cases of occupation of a sovereign entity. The “West Bank” has never been the legal territory of any sovereign entity. Or to put it in plain English, territories are only “occupied” if they are captured in war from an established and recognized sovereign. Jordan was never an established or recognized sovereign of the West Bank. Therefore, Israel is not an occupier and the “West Bank” is not occupied land.

Technically, Judea and Samaria is unclaimed Mandate land and should therefore be referred to as “disputed” territory. Israel’s capture of the West Bank in 1967 merely restored the territory to its legal status under the Mandate of 1922, which has never been superseded in law, not even by the 1947 partition plan. The settlers are simply enacting the Mandate and they should be allowed to continue with this enterprise.

II

The fact that the Palestinians and the Arab states collaborated with Hitler before and during Second World War, and then proceeded to invade Israel on three occasions between 1948 and 1973, seriously undermines any moral claim to establish a state on the “West Bank.” Even today, most Arabs still refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on such matters, has stated that because of the attacks against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, as well as other belligerent acts, Arab states have “flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members.”

There are also moral and cultural reasons why the Jewish settlements are legitimate. Judea and Samaria is historically and religiously Jewish. The territory formed a major part of ancient Israel and is home to several sacred sites, including Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. It is only recently that Arabs have expressed an interest in Jerusalem. At no time between 634 CE (when Muslims overran “Palestine”) and 1967 did any Muslim entity ever declare Jerusalem as their capital. During the Jordan occupation, not a single foreign Arab leader came to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

Moreover, non-Jewish powers cannot be trusted to protect either Jews or Jewish sites. During the 1920 Jerusalem riots, an Arab mob ransacked the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, attacking pedestrians and looting shops and homes. On 24th August 1929, 67 Palestinian Jews were massacred in Hebron. Dozens were wounded. Some of the victims were raped, tortured and mutilated. Jewish homes and synagogues, as well as a hospital, were ransacked. During the Jordanian occupation, the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was desecrated and many synagogues in the Old City were destroyed.

Between 1948 and 1967, there was not a single settlement in Gaza or the “West Bank.” But this did not stop Arab states terrorizing Israel. Nor did the Arab states attempt to establish a Palestinian state. Furthermore, the dismantling of the settlements in Gaza actually destabilized the region because the withdrawal allowed Hamas to take control of the Strip, with devastating consequences.

The Palestinian claim that statehood is an unassailable right should not be taken at face value. Arab hatred of Israel has never been about the settlements or even about land. The primary obstacle is an ideological refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s deep-rooted historic, cultural and legal connections to the land of Israel. Until the Arabs accept that the Jewish people have an inalienable right to Judea and Samaria, there will never be peace.